If you’re transgender or non-binary, there are many reasons you might want to track your menstrual cycle. Some people experience gender dysphoria (when a person experiences distress because of a mismatch between their bodily appearance and their gender identity) during their period or other parts of the cycle. A tracker can be helpful for identifying patterns, and setting up reminders for when your period—and other cyclical changes are coming to help you be prepared.
Many trans folks don’t take hormones, but if you take testosterone your period might change, stop, or continue as before. If you are taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT) which includes estrogen, you might notice symptoms such as breast pain, bloating, or acne.
Why track your cycle?
- Learn how hormonal medications (including birth control) affect your body, mind, and cycle
- Know when your period, and other cyclical changes (physical and mental) are expected, so you can be prepared
- Keep track of the timing and heaviness of menstrual bleeding
- Record hormone-related symptoms, like cramps, bloating, or skin breakouts
- Become aware of any unusual symptoms or changes in your cycle
- Monitor pain, such as cramps, breast tenderness and headaches
- Use custom tags to track anything missing from existing categories, such as dysphoria or testosterone injections
Tips for tracking when you’re trans
Agender YouTuber ChandlerNWilson recently made a video mentioning Clue, sharing why they use the app. (Clue partners with YouTubers all over the world who are paid to promote the app. They often have great tips and tricks to share.)
“I know that I always feel super nauseous when I'm on my period, so it’s nice to be able to keep track of these things.” —ChandlerNWilson
Sam Collins also shared a video for transguys about periods, and how a tracker like Clue can be useful.
“You can keep track of when you’re going to get it next...You can be prepared so you don’t need to buy tampons suddenly when you’re with people.” —Sam Collins
To get more tips, I reached out to Clue’s Ambassadors and social media followers to ask how transgender and non binary folks are using Clue.
“Clue helps me understand my body, and knowing when my period is coming helps me control my dysphoria. I never wanted to use a period tracking app beforehand, because they were all so centered on women and stereotypical gender roles, but Clue allows me to understand my body without automatically gendering it.” — Alex (genderqueer)
“With Clue I get to keep track of my cycle so I can prepare myself mentally and physically. Mostly I just track my period and how bad my cramps are. Sometimes I use the tags to take note of if I’m traveling. It’s extremely helpful, I get to go back and look for patterns in my cycles without having to dedicate space for it in my physical calendar. I also like that Clue talks about “people with periods” instead of “women,” it helps me feel included in a way that doesn’t make me feel bad about myself (especially in that very sensitive time of month lol)” —Anonymous (transboy)
“I find Clue really useful—it's generally very accurate in predicting when my period will start and end, especially now that I'm taking birth control. Before I was on the pill, it was interesting to track changes in my sex drive throughout my cycle and it made me more aware of other patterns, such as tender breasts just before my period started, and thicker discharge when I was ovulating—which before I started using Clue I didn't realise there could be a pattern to. Clue definitely puts a lot of effort into using gender neutral terms, which I have seen barely anywhere else and it means a lot.” —Anonymous (genderfluid)
“Clue is pretty useful. I use it to track menstrual cycle, sex, dates, cramps, and sickness. I like being able to look up scientific data without a very gendered format, and that Clue is open and reflective about how they can improve on being trans inclusive.” —Anonymous (genderqueer)
What about trans women?
There is a lack of medical literature regarding the effects of HRT on transgender women, although high doses of estrogen may cause side effects, which tracking can help you identify (1).
Australian Youtuber Cluam Sutherland made a video explaining how Clue helped her to realize that something was up with her hormones. She saw her doctor and was diagnosed with a hormonal imbalance, so her doctor changed her medication. Some trans women who are on HRT use Clue to track their hormonal cycles and better understand when to expect PMS-type symptoms, like bloating or headaches. Mexican YouTuber Victoria Volkova made a video (in Spanish) explaining how she uses Clue to identify and prepare for these symptoms.
Kayla wrote to us share her experience as a trans woman who uses Clue:
“I use Clue for tracking my period. It's a great to see an app so inclusive for the transgender spectrum. It would be great if there was an option to have a no-bleed panel, as some MtFs (Male to Female transgender) clearly don't bleed like our FtM (Female to Male) counterparts.” —Kayla
When to see a healthcare provider
If you’ve been period-free while taking testosterone and you suddenly start experiencing bleeding again, see your healthcare provider for a checkup. A sudden return of bleeding/spotting in a person on testosterone can indicate a health problem, like an untreated STI or uterine polyps (2). Or it might be nothing. The best way to know is to see a healthcare provider. If you need help to find one, see our guide for finding a trans-friendly healthcare provider.
Sometimes medication comes with unwanted side-effects. If you notice unwanted symptoms that you think might be linked with your birth control or hormone therapy, check it out with your healthcare provider. You might benefit from changing your medication or the dose.
If you’re interested in reading more about menstruating while trans, check out our Q&A with artist and educator Cass Clemmer. We’ve designed Clue to be as gender-neutral as possible, but there’s always room for improvement. If you have any feedback about gendered language at Clue please let us know via firstname.lastname@example.org—we’d love to hear from you!
Download Clue to track your cycle.